woman recording at a mic discussing how to start a travel podcast

How to Start a Travel Podcast for Free: 11 Tips in 2024

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Been wanting to start your travel podcast?

You’ve come to the right place to find out how to start a travel podcast for free — as I did with mine, Dream To Destination.

In this article, we’ll go step by step through choosing a niche, your podcast cover art, picking a podcast host, the best podcast microphone, and more.

One of the biggest things this article will offer those looking to start a travel podcast specifically is that I am letting you know how I find guests in the travel podcasting niche.

That’s in Tip #5, How to Find Podcast Guests, which you can jump ahead to if you’d like.

In addition to that tip, there are nine other tips that will help you figure out how to start a podcast for free. Ready to find out what they are?!

Let’s get to it, starting with the most important question of them all — Why do you want to start a podcast?

How to Start a Travel Podcast for Free: 11 Tips for New Travel Podcasters

1. Start With Why

I saw an interview with Madonna years ago where she said something along the lines of “I didn’t start singing because I had the greatest voice in the world. I started singing because I had something to say.”

I tried hard to find that interview, but I couldn’t; so you’ll have to trust me.

The point here remains: for Madonna, her “Why” was that she had something to say, so she started singing.

She didn’t wait to have a great voice to put her message out there. Rather, she leveraged her Why — and the rest is history for the Queen of Pop.

🤔 Why Start Your Podcast?

Have you thought about Why you want to do a podcast? If not, this really is the place to start your travel podcasting journey. In short, the Why is your purpose or your mission statement.

podfade: (noun) when a podcast suddenly stops releasing new content without a final show or an announcement

According to AmplifiMedia, most podcasts podfade by their seventh episode. Among the reasons this happens is not having a clear reason Why you’re podcasting to begin with.

When you have a clear Why for making the podcast, it can keep you going when you want to quit.

how to start a travel podcast

2. Defining Your Podcast Niche

Now that you know Why you’re starting a podcast — Who do you hope will listen to it?

If you could invent the perfect lister, Who are they? What’s their name? What other podcasts do they like? What’s their favorite book?

In short, don’t be afraid to get specific with your Who.

When you know Who you want to listen to your content, you’re on your way to defining your podcast’s niche. With your ideal listener in mind, you’ll tailor your content to them and the topic(s) that interest them.

🎧 Prefer to Listen to this blog post as a Podcast?

The Riches are in the Niches

When wanting to start a travel podcast, the obvious topic you’ll be covering is of course, travel. However, there’s a popular saying that “the riches are in the niches,” and I agree.

For my own podcast, Dream To Destination, my niche is solo female travel in Mexico, which is something I did for one year so I have a lot to say about it.

If you’re wondering, But isn’t that a small demographic? The answer is yes — and that’s a great thing.

Why niche down?

As any good podcast course or travel blogging course will tell you — The riches are in the niches.

The main argument for niching down is that there are already a lot of established general travel podcasts. Because of this, it will be much harder for your brand new general travel podcast to ever get noticed.

With a general travel podcast, you’re competing against very big names in the travel podcasting world, like Rick Steves, “Traveling Jackie,” the Women Who Travel podcast by Conde Nast, and Zero To Travel, the top travel podcast.

Quite frankly, you won’t be able to compete with those podcasts any time soon — So why try? You can, however, leverage a niche to grow your listener count quickly.

Here are some examples of travel podcast niches, though really, anything can be a niche:

  • European Travel
  • California Travel
  • Disney Travel
  • Cruise Travel
  • Traveling With Disabilities
  • Traveling With Kids
  • Traveling Over 50
  • Honeymoon Travel
  • BIPOC Travel
  • Budget Travel in Asia
  • Solo Travel in Africa
  • Van Life Travel
  • Couples Travel
  • Digital Nomad Travel
  • Foodie Travel
  • Hiking Travel
how to start a travel podcast

3. What kind of podcast will it be?

As this is your podcast, you can do whatever you want with it. However, having a game plan when you’re starting out will really help keep focus.

Below you will discover six podcast styles, and while many travel podcasts combine them all, they often have a primary type so their audience knows what to expect.

Monologue Podcasts

This is the easiest way to make a travel podcast, as it’s just you recording at whatever time works best for you.

Monologue podcasts are convenient because you don’t have to find a guest, set a time to record with the guest, and prepare for interviewing the guest.

However, if you’re not knowledgeable and clear on that episode’s message, it can seem like you’re rambling.

Here’s an example of this style of travel podcast where I talk about visiting Tulum on a budget (one of the more expensive Mexico travel destinations): 

Conversational Podcasts

Some travel podcasts have two hosts, and the episodes are essentially the same two people (or more) people having a conversation about the same topic.

With conversational podcasts, you can also integrate interview guests, and both hosts can share interviewing duties. 

Here’s a great example of this style of travel podcast:

Interview Podcasts

Interview podcasts are another option, and as an avid podcast listener myself, these feel the most “official.”

In my Dream To Destination podcast, I interview solo female travelers about their personal experiences traveling alone, and as a solo female traveler myself, we’re both essentially experts on the topic.

For a listener, it’s very appealing to hear from two experts at once.

Though I do these myself, it’s not always to coordinate interview guests and it’s not always easy to work around one another person’s schedule so we can actually record.

For this reason, I combine interviews podcasts with monologue podcasts on my show.

Here’s a great example of this style of travel podcast where I interview a fellow solo female traveler:

Travel Stories or Travelogues

Travelogue podcasts are basically when a guest tells their own personal story about travel.

This can be anything really — a truly remarkable travel story, a hilarious travel mishap, a story that starts out tragic but has a happy ending, an in-depth deep dive on a particular country, etc.

With these, you’ll want your guests to be as raw, real and emotional as is comfortable for them. In great travelogues, your listener is transported to the world the guest is describing.

Here’s a great example of this style of travel podcast, all about funny travel mishaps:

Infotainment Podcasts

This style is what you get when you combine traditional news reporting and journalism with entertainment. These tend to be the most complex to produce, but also tend to be the most successful of all podcasts.

Here’s a great example of this style of travel podcast:

Repurposed Content Podcasts

In this format, the host uses existing content to make the podcast.

I do this by making episodes using blog posts I have already written as another way to get my existing content out there to those who prefer listening to podcasts to reading blogs. 

Below is an example of this style of travel podcast, in which I made an episode based around this collaborative post that I contributed to (with consent from the blog owner).

In the podcast, I reference both what I contributed to the blog, and the contributions of the other bloggers as well.

how to start a travel podcast

4. Your Podcast Cover Art

how to start a travel podcast for free
Fun Fact: I took the screenshot, and then about a year later ended up being a guest on the Amateur Traveler Podcastone of the top travel podcasts! We discuss my travels in Chiapas, Mexico.

Take a look at the best travel podcasts on Apple Podcasts in the image below. What do you notice about them?

Here are a few common design elements the top podcasts all share: bright colors, only a few words of text, large easy-to-read font, image of the host, something travel related like a globe, suitcase or plane.

Now, you can always do whatever you want with your own podcast art — but if something seems to be working, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel.

As the images show very small in podcast searches, there’s a reason this esthetic works.

Create a Cover in Anchor (Free Option)

In Tip #7 on How to Find A Podcast Host, you’ll learn more about Anchor, which I use as my podcast host since it’s free. ⚠️ Edit: Anchor is now called Spotify For Podcaters.

For now, know that you can also use Anchor (now called Spotify For Podcaters) to create a very simple podcast cover art design for yourself — also for free.

Using a Canva Template (Some Free Options)

how to start a travel podcast for free
Canva podcast cover art templates: You can easily change the text to display your podcast’s name, but the overall design is done for you.

If you aren’t familiar with Canva, it’s a really great tool for easily creating graphic designs, Pinterest pins and more. They also have podcasts templates you can just alter to fit your needs.

Note: If you’re going to use Canva to make your cover art, make sure it’s in the correct podcast specs — 3000px X 3000px.

🤑 Canva Pro FREE Trial: You can try Canva Pro free for 30 days.

Fiverr, Upwork & 99 Designs (Paid Options)

Another option is to pay a designer to make your podcast cover art. If you know one, that’s great, but if not you can easily hire someone online.

On sites like Fiverr and UpWork, you can find someone for about $25-45 USD for a simple but professionally-made design.

Another site, 99 Designs, has a reputation for attracting better, but more expensive designers, so you might spend $50-75 USD (or more) on there.

5. How to Find Podcast Guests

how to start a travel podcast for free

Depending on your niche and the topics you’re covering, you might actually know a good amount of people you can interview on your podcast.

This might be a great place to start, as friends will be more lenient with you being new to podcasting.

Facebook Groups

As a travel blogger, I am in several Facebook groups with other female travelers.

The two biggest ones are Wandering Women Travel Bloggers and Women Travel Creators, and they are great places to find podcast guests, as everyone in them is a travel writer.

Google & Pinterest 

There’s also simply using Google or Pinterest to find a blog about a topic you want to make an episode about, and contacting the blog’s author.

You can contact them via their contact form on the site, email address (if it’s listed), or even on their Instagram.

The way I would do this is, say I want to do an episode about tips for saving money to travel.

I’d head to Google and/or Pinterest, search “how to save for travel,” read a few posts, and then contact the person who’s content I resonated most with.

Other Travel Podcasters 

Most podcasters love being on other peoples’ podcasts. This usually leads to podcast interview swaps where you each record an episode for each other’s podcasts.

As podcasts are the best way to find out about other podcasts, you can both potentially expand your own audiences on each other’s shows.

Here are some FB groups you can join to network with other podcasters (though not everyone’s in the travel niche):

HOW TO START A TRAVEL PODCAST

6. Offer Incentives for Your Guests 

As podcasts guests are pretty much never paid, make it worth their while to sacrifice their time for your podcast. I do this in a few ways:

Social Media Promotion

how to start a travel podcast for free
Made in Canva, I use this graphic to promote the podcast on Instagram and Facebook.

I make a social media post in Canva that goes to my Instagram and Facebook each Tuesday (to use the popular #TravelTuesday hashtag), and I tag my guest.

Social Media Plug

I allow all guests to plug their social media and blog at the end of the episode.

Before signing off, I’ll ask How can listeners connect with you online? — and let the guest mention their social media, podcast (if they have one), blog name, etc.

Do-Follow Link to Their Blog

Offer your guest something to incentivize them to be on your podcast — like this do-follow link back to their blog — which I have on my episode show list page.

I have two blog posts that I keep updating as I make more episodes — one is for the solo female travel podcast episodes, and one for the Mexico podcast episodes.

As I use other bloggers’ posts as episode inspiration, I put a do-follow link to the blog we discuss in the episode.

how to start a travel podcast

7. Select a Podcast Host

Wondering, What is a podcast host? In short, a podcast host is basically the place where your podcast files live.

Once you upload your podcast audio files to your host, they share it out to the podcast providers, like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and more. 

Anchor/Spotify For Podcaters (Free Option)

how to start a travel podcast for free
Anchor also gives you a nice homepage for your podcast — Check mine out.

Personally, I use Anchor because it’s FREE. As this article is about starting a podcast for free, Anchor is the way to go — at least to start out.

⚠️ Edit: Anchor is now called Spotify For Podcaters, after Spotify bought Anchor some years back. If functions pretty much the same.

Libsyn, BuzzSprout & PodBean (Paid Podcast Hosts)

If you want to change hosts at any time, I hear it’s a simple process. Since I’ve never done it, I can’t say firsthand, though I’ve never heard of anyone having an issue doing so.

If at any time you want to change hosts, Libsyn, BuzzSprout and PodBean, all have great reputations.

Libsyn has no free plan option, though both BuzzSprout and PodBean have free plans. Of course, you’ll only get access to limited options and features.

With their free plans, you’re limited in how much you can upload, but what they offer might be enough for your needs. With Anchor, you can upload as many podcasts as you’d like for FREE.

8. Podcast Recording Equipment 

Another reason I love Anchor (Spotify for Podcasters) is that you can use it for everything from creating your podcast cover art, as a podcast host, and for recording and doing some editing to your podcasts — and it’s FREE.

Having said that, I only use Anchor for recording my monologue episodes.

When I am recording an interview episode with a guest, I use Zoom. With Zoom, we both jump on a Zoom call and record the meeting so that when the interview is over I have an .mp3 audio file.

I’ll then upload that directly into Anchor to create the episode.

🎥 Travel Podcasting Tip: Zoom also make an .mp4 video file of your recording. You can use this Zoom video to make a YouTube video as another piece of content.

What are the best podcast microphones?

Though most people think you need a fancy microphone to have a podcast, I used both my iPhone 8 and my MacBook Pro to record before getting I eventually bought a microphone.

Now, I use this Tonor microphone (the one seen in the photo above) and love it as a great entry level mic, but you don’t need a microphone!

If you do want a mic, here are some of the ones most widely used by podcasters, which come in all price ranges.

how to start a travel podcast

9. Record 10 Episodes Before Launching

how to start a travel podcast for free

Remember podfade, which was mentioned at the beginning of the article — and how most podcasts podfade away by their seventh episode?

A great way to avoid this is to have about 10 podcasts recorded before you launch.

With these in a bank, you can schedule them to come when you want them to so that you can focus on promoting the podcast as it’s coming out, instead of focusing on making more episodes during a launch. 

With 10 episodes recorded, you can figure out when you want them to come out, and in which frequency. For me, I release an episode each Monday at 4am and I promote the podcast on my social media each Tuesday.

What’s the best day to release your podcast?

how to start a travel podcast for free
Some of my podcast stats in Anchor, my podcast host. Different podcast hosts track different stats, but as Anchor is free, it doesn’t track as much as the paid services do.

Here are some podcast release day and time statistics from this Medium article by MegaphonePods:

  • Wednesday is the most popular publishing day
  • The hours with the most shows published are 2am Wednesday, 2am Tuesday, and 11pm Tuesday
  • Thursday has the most total downloads per average episode

While those stats are based on an average of all podcasts, you can start to break down your own stats after a while.

For me, Anchor tracks my stats (as seen in the image above) so I know my podcasts do just fine on Mondays, and I’m not planning to change to Wednesday though it’s known to the best day.

In fact, many very successful podcasts come out on other days of the week. Personally, I think it’s more important to be consistent, so just pick a day and time and stick with it (at least for a while).

how to start a travel podcast

10. Manage Your Expectations

Like all brand new things, your podcast will take a while to catch on.

In fact, you may have episodes that have an embarrassingly low number of listens — but that is OK. Everyone starts somewhere, and the only way to gain listeners is to keep putting out episodes consistently.

When you’re putting out episodes consistently for a while, you’ll keep picking up a few more listeners with each release.

After a while, you build trust with your audience and they will emotionally invest in your content because they know you also take your podcast seriously.

how to start a travel podcast

11. What If I Don’t Like My Own Voice?

travel podcast cover art
The cover of my podcast, Dream To Destination.

On a final “managing your podcast expectations” note, keep in mind very few people truly love the sound of their own voice. In fact, you don’t have to like yours in order to make a podcast — I can’t honestly say I love mine.

However, if like Madonna, you do have something to say, you’ll find a way to both not be enamored of your voice, but also make a great podcast with it.

If you cringe when re-listening to an episode after you record one, that is OK, and probably quite normal. However, don’t let that, or anything, stop you from continuing to record more podcasts.

Final Thoughts: How to Start a Travel Podcast for Free (Like I Did)

You might be wondering why you should care about what I say since I no longer have an active podcast. The answer is that I started a podcast for free and maintained it for one year — far longer than most podcasts run for!

In truth, the podcast was way more work than I was expecting — just like most things tend to be. It was taking up too much of my time, and I had to make the decision to let podcasting go; it wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy it.

At the time I stopped my travel podcast, my blog wasn’t making money, but now that I’m making money from blogging, it’s not off the table to bring the podcast back. If I do, I’ll make it a priority, and not treat it like a hobby.

For now, I am keeping this article live because, as the title says, it will show you how to start a travel podcast for free — just like I did.